Happy New Year

A brief observation on the Obama Presidency

In assessing the Obama Presidency from a progressive and left perspective, two questions I would argue loom large: First, what was the concrete relationship of political and social forces – the balance of power – in the capital and country during his presidency? Second, is a transformative presidency a realistic possibility without a movement that possesses transformative power and a Congress that is disposed to social change?

The answers to each question isn’t the end of any assessment of his presidency. But both have to figure into any judgement of the Obama years. Otherwise, hollow and abstract pronouncements become the result. And, generally speaking, they do little to expand our political understanding of the achievements and limits of Obma’s presidency, nor do they shine much light on our own insufficiencies and what needs to be done going forward.

Genocide, dispossession, and creating a human and sustainable community

Yesterday was the 125th anniversary of the slaughter of hundreds of defenseless Native People – men, women, and children – at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1890.

While this atrocity was the work of the Seventh U.S. Cavalry, its genesis lies in the policy of genocide and dispossession practiced by European colonial powers from the day of their arrival in the Americas four centuries earlier. Moreover, these practices were sanctioned by racist ideology and acquired extraordinary force and tempo as they evolved and maturated in the “whirlpool,” to use Marx’s word, of an emerging and expanding capitalist economy.

Merry Christmas

Joni makes mention of Xmas here, but this song is a bit melancholy, not exactly in the holiday spirit. But damn, it’s beautiful. Happy Holidays!

Shortchanging the American people

A recent article in The Nation, appearing not long after the horrible killings in San Bernardino, contained some interesting facts and observations about mass shootings and access to guns. But they were negated by its headline, “America Is Fine With Mass Shootings—as Long as They’re Not Perpetrated by Muslims,” which is then repeated almost word for word in the final paragraph.

But one has to ask, where’s the evidence for such a claim?

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